by Ryan Snyder

Like the antihero that inspired the title of Velvet Truckstop’s latest EP, Southbound and Down waves off the curveball in favor of the straight heat. The Asheville Southern-rock quartet’s five offerings don’t dance and there’s nothing poetic about the windup, but they somehow still get the job done. Opener “Water In the Well” doesn’t always stick to a lyrical meter and when it does, it can be as clumsy as Brad Klontz pitching inside, but the EP’s bluesiest number sticks to two themes that work within the idiom — hot licks and heartbreak — and deploys them effectively. The arrangements are crafty, but never obtrusive, particularly the elegantly empathetic “Cadillac Souls.” Singer Jamie Dose possesses the quintessential Southern rock voice, an amalgam of Widespread Panic’s John Bell at his grittiest and Hughie Thomasson’s cowboy croon.


Velvet Truckstop will hold the release party for Southbound and Down at the Fat Frogg in Elon on Saturday.